In an interview with Bloomberg TV, the Google executive chairman pointed out that one of the key drivers of technological change will be the explosive growth of mobile, and the fact that people with internet-connected devices will essentially have access to a supercomputer wherever they go.
That’s not news, by itself, but Schmidt notes that the trend has reached a key milestone, which starts to open up new scenarios.
“The trend has been that mobile was winning, it’s now won,” he said. “There are more tablets and phones being sold than personal computers. People are moving to this new architecture very fast.”
He continued, “The biggest disruptor that we’re sure about is the arrival of big data and machine intelligence everywhere. The ability to find people, to talk specifically to them, to judge them, to rank what they’re doing, to decide what to do with your products, changes every business globally.”
The growth of mobile, and the cloud services that are linked to heavy mobile use, is good news in some ways for the Seattle region, which is a hub for the development of cloud computing, including Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Windows Azure. But it also speaks to Microsoft’s ongoing challenges as the company tries to expand beyond its traditional strengths in desktop PCs to establish more of a presence in smartphones and tablets.
Asked about Google’s mistakes, Schmidt acknowledged and took responsibility for underestimating the potential of social networking, which it’s now trying to make up for with Google+. It’s no wonder, either: the company thrives on advertising, and could stand to lose a significant amount of business to Facebook, which is finding financial success in allowing advertisers to target their messages based on social graph data.
Check out the full segment here.